Work Life Quiz: Iain Christopher Donaldson, Matthew Arnold & Baldwin

What was your first ever job?

Delivering milk at the age of 11.

Iain Christopher Donaldson
Iain Christopher Donaldson

What was your worst experience as a trainee?

Realising how much I had to learn over and above academic training when I was given my first file.

Where’s the best place to go if you want to find out what’s really going on in the office?

We have a communication software programme called ’The Cube’. It has its own chat room.

What time do you usually leave the office?


What do you do at weekends?

Walk two dogs and help six children with their homework.

What’s your favourite restaurant?

I’m fortunate enough to have a wide choice. I do like the Bleeding Heart in London.

If you weren’t a lawyer what would you have been?

A property developer.

What is your favourite film?

Hobson’s Choice (1954). It is in black and white but it’s brilliant.

What was the first record you ever bought?

Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues.

Who’s your hero and why?

Barack Obama, for taking a tough job at a tough time and carrying people with him.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Meeting, engaging and developing people and thereby developing myself.

What’s the toughest thing about your job?

It’s difficult to be popular and efficient. Not everyone likes necessity and you can only please some of the people some of the time.

What’s your biggest work/career mistake and what did you learn from it?

As a child I dreamt of being like Perry Mason. Fiction is more fun than fact and I found tax law much more dreary. I encourage trainees to keep anopen mind until they have actually tried doing a particular type of work.

What car do you drive?

A GL-class Mercedes. (Six children, two dogs – the choices are limited.)

What book are you currently reading?

The Philosopher and The Wolf by Mark Rowlands

What’s your favourite children’s book?

The Harry Potter books are great to read to children.

What’s the most exciting deal/case you have worked on and why?

Advising on a cross-border estate where allegedly $220m was missing. I worked with some excellent lawyers.

If you were stranded on a desert island what two luxury items would you take?

A camping stove and my dogs – they catch fish.

What is the worst partner conference location you’ve attended and why?

I’ve not had a bad one… yet.

What’s the longest you’ve worked without sleep?

Twenty-nine hours – I was younger then.

If a movie was being made about your life, which actor would play you and why?

Jasper Carrott. He has a sharp sense of humour.

Who would you least like to be stuck in a lift with and why?

Lord Lucan – I’d wonder where it was taking me.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order)…

I qualified for Mensa; I am allergic to coffee; I believe that success isn’t as important as trying hard.


Name: Iain Christopher Donaldson

Title: Managing partner

Firm: Matthew Arnold & Baldwin (MAB)

Lives: Redbourn, Hertfordshire


1981-84: LLB, University of Birmingham

1984-85: LPC, Birmingham Polytechnic

Work history:

1985-87: Articled clerk, Moorhurst & Taylor

1988-91: Tolhurst Fisher

1992-95: MAB, head of private client

1995-April 2009: MAB, private client practice group leader

April 2009-present: MAB, managing partner